Mirror Dice (dM) [In the Lab]


Here's just a little idea I had for a custom die. Originally, I imagined a d6 with six pips on each face, but only 1-6 filled. That way, you could pull two sets of information from a single result.

Unfortunately, that means one face would have 0 filled pips and 6 empty pips and there wouldn't be enough faces for a mirrored counterpart.

So I knocked off one pip on each face. Now I could start with 0 filled 5 empty, incrementally increase the filled pips on each face up to 5 filled 0 empty. I don't know what you'd do with a die like this, but it's an interesting source of data, easily based on binary states in an RPG for example:

"Roll 2dM. If the scene takes place in the day, check the empty pips. If the scene takes place at night, check the filled pips."

I'm sure you can think of something better though. What would you do with these?

27 comments:

  1. Swap the 3-black and 4-black sides so that opposing sides always add up to 5-black (and 5-white). Opposing faces of regular d6 add up to 7.

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  2. "So I knocked off one pip on each face. Now I could start with 0 filled 6 empty, incrementally increase the filled pips on each face up to 6 filled 0 empty."

    These sixes want to be fives.

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  3. Hmm. What would I do with these. Split Decision?

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  4. Certainly could. Roll 2dM, possible results are the sum of FF, EE, or FE. The F/E choices are your split decision?

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  5. Some type of game where characters have dual natures, or could be in one of two forms. "Roll 2dM. Black if in Ghost form, White, if in Human form."

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  6. Oh! That could totally be a Jedi/Sith mechanic.

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  7. Could be used with a larger die pool, too. "Roll 6dM. If Dark Side is dominating, choose the highest dark result. If Light Side is dominating, choose the highest light result. If in balance, player chooses."

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  8. I wouldn't say these have any more information on them than regular dice, since the white count per die is just five minus the black count. You could do the same with regular dice -- "roll 2d6 but subtract the result from 14 if it's night." But this still wouldn't have any effect, because the probability distribution is the same reversed.

    What would make this more interesting is if the total number of pips were different on each face; then the correlation between black and white would be more varied. (Reminds me of the Decktet, a deck of cards where most of the cards have two or more suits, making for some very interesting game mechanics.)

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  9. But they do make that subtraction quicker, if your game has a reason to do it.

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  10. Ezra nailed it. Subtraction and division are often way too fiddly for smooth play. Granted, there are a disproportionate number of gamers who could probably have no problem with on-the-spot subtraction. I'm not one of those gamers, though, so I'd love a set of dice like this if the game called for it.

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  11. It occurs to me that some gamers may prefer to avoid zeroes. For them you could do a one-through-seven version. (The attach image button isn't working for me.)

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  12. Did you try making the one in the center, three across the middle, and so forth? It could be good for resonance with familiar dice - then each pattern is one seen on a normal six-sider. (Is it readable?)

    It looks like your four-black on the 3D is that style, but the four-black in the net (and the two-black on the 3D) is not.

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  13. I think the point was that the subtraction is unnecessary, because the final distribution is exactly the same whether you count filled or unfilled. Like the way that the d6-d6 is indistinguishable from 2d6-7, if all you care about is the total. Verying the pips would make it interesting, at the moment it's just a fancy-pants d6-1.

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  14. I've seen this (sort-of): the FFG dice for Descent and Doom have numbers, pips and icons on them. The numbers being range, the pips damage and the icon some added effect.

    The range decreased as the damage increased (of course they had duplicate sides and 'miss' faces and multiple colors for different ranges and damages).

    So the white and black could represent two different data on their own, and it would make that go quickly.

    The dice make sense if there is an element of choice involved. All of these ideas would tend to slow down the game play, as the player has to choose what to do.

    Suppose they have to take one die of the opposite color.
    Or they could take black, or white-1?
    Or maybe you have to have a threshold number of white and black and only dice not used for that can count for result?

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  15. You could take this a step further and create more positively or negatively slanted / stronger or weaker dice by varying the amount of mirroring represented. For example: your 1 pip die could show 1-4 mirrored pips, your 3 pip die 1-2 mirrored pips. This would allow for something akin to Zombie Dice's green, orange, and red dice.


    Taking this still further, you could allow for (reasonably) up to 3 different attributes being represented on each face. For example: 1 black pip, 1 red pip, and 3 green pips, for instance, might represent a three factors in the swing of a sword, the firing of a gun (distance, accuracy, damage), or the like.

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  16. That's definitely doable. Actually I wonder if they'd look like the seven-pip dice that are in my Smart Play Games logo! http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6123/5990770434_a3d1a1ef96_o.png

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  17. Hee hee! Yes! This is the kind of brainstorming I love to see.

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  18. The larger the dice pool, the less it will matter. I'd keep this to a small number to keep the results relevant.

    Alternately, you need a total. The closer the number to your target, the better you do; sometimes you need to use White pips as well as the Black ones and they deal unintended consequences/accrue to induce character change/do something else undesirable/unpredictable.

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    Replies
    1. Something with the unintended consequences could be good, but you want to make sure that don't take away player agency. It'd be a slippery slope.

      Maybe something like from Don't Rest Your Head where the highest amount of a given color dominates the die pool? That way you'd still get to keep light or dark, depending on your character's inclinations, but either light or dark would color the outcome.

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  19. I think I would go with one to six, as well:
    O O O
    X
    O O O

    O X O
    O
    O X O

    O X O
    X
    O X O

    X O X
    O
    X O X

    X O X
    X
    X O X

    X X X
    O
    X X X

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  20. Imagine using these for Yahtzee style rolling where you're having to decide whether or not to roll again to min/max/balance.


    So many possibilities:


    * Distance, accuracy, and damage on that ranged attack roll

    * Shares outstanding, share price, buy allowance on that economic game turn
    * Acceleration, brakes, maneuverability of your go-cart
    * Enemy number, strength, and HP in the encounter
    * Moves, attacks, actions allowed by your character

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  21. So.... you're trying to use the force to do something easy, so you roll your force pool of 10dM needing 3 results of 4 or better.... and most of the time you can chose your Jedi results and ignore the Sith options, but then you go to do something harder.... you need 6 results... you'll probably need to pull in those Sith 4's and 5's to make it work.

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  22. Yeah, dig. That is, it's easy to be a good guy when it's easy.

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  23. That's something I wish more light/dark morality mechanics took into account as a part of the narrative. The dark side isn't *always* easy, nor should the light side always be a thankless chore.

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  24. Yeah, I don't think there's ever been a Star Wars game that even thought about what it was saying.


    You could use these in association with regular dice, too. Like, when you've just succeeded at using a Dark Side power, you get another die that you can add the next time you roll, adding it only if you use the Dark Side on that roll, too.

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Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.